In 2009, when South Africa hosted the Indian Premier League (IPL), Shadab Jakati — a first class cricketer from Goa — spun a magic for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) with figures of 4/24 and 4/22 in consecutive games.
Cut to 2017, he is still doing his job right. On Monday, the bowling all-rounder helped Goa draw its Ranji Trophy opener against Chhattisgarh by holding on to his wicket till stumps.
The eighth-wicket pair of Jakati — who remained unbeaten on 22 off 64 balls — and Amit Yadav played out 80 balls to force a draw after conceding a 181-run lead in the first innings.
Despite being a promising newcomer then, he never played for India. Now, at 36, his chances look further bleak. But he still offers 100 per cent commitment to domestic cricket without any specific goal in mind. “The love and passion for the game motivates me. I have worked hard on my fitness in the last couple of months and my body feels good. As long as I enjoy my cricket, I will keep going,” he told Sportstar in an exclusive chat.
There was a sweet ring in his voice when asked about the second coming of CSK in the IPL next season. The slow left-arm orthodox bowler wouldn’t mind a second innings in yellow. “I hope so, but it depends. They will obviously look at the current crop of players but if I have a good season like last year, why not?” Jakati picked up 41 wickets in nine outings for Goa in the last domestic season.
He uses the experience he gained under M.S. Dhoni’s leadership, from 2009 to 2012, to prosper in domestic cricket. “I try to share my CSK tales with the young cricketers of Goa. Dhoni made it easy for players, but there is a difference when playing for a side like CSK — with almost 15 match-winners — and Goa (which isn’t known for producing champions),” he said.
“Goa doesn’t have the same standard as CSK. We don’t have enough match experience. We don’t play that much of cricket compared to other states. But when it comes to talent, I think we are at par with others, we are just lacking in experience,” he added.
Jakati also believes the Goa Cricket Association didn’t support him when he looked set for an India debut. “I do believe I had a good chance to play for India in the 2009-2011 period. But the kind of support a player needs, I didn’t get that from my association. In future, I hope our boys get the same kind of exposure that players from other states get; that culture needs to come into Goa cricket. If any Goa player ends up representing India, it will make a huge difference for the state,” he reasoned.
Goa didn’t even have a pre-season camp this season. “There was no match practice or camps due to the rain. It rained heavily three weeks prior to the start of the season, so we had to limit our drills to indoor nets. Most of the teams played enough games and tournaments, but we didn’t,” asserted Jakati, who is in his 20th year of Ranji Trophy career.
Goa will next play Himachal Pradesh from October 11 at Dharamsala.